Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Tomorrow shall be my Dancing Day

"Today you shall know that the Lord shall come and tomorrow you shall see His glory" (The Invitatory antiphon at Matins).

Today is the Vigil of Christmas, that day which stands on the cusp of Advent and Christmas. Although it will be a busy day for us - preparing the chapel for the solemn liturgies and decorating the Priory to celebrate the Lord's birth, and others will have last minute Christmas details to attend to - it is a shame not to pause and reflect on this day and its significance.

Following is a beautiful carol for a beautiful day - the Eve of our Lord's Nativity. The setting of these words by John Gardner is wonderful and fun to sing... probably one of my favourites. It's well worth mulling over, to consider that the Lord deigned to become man, for our sakes. We are His "true love", but are we true to Him in our celebration of Christmas and in our lives? Do we truly love Him and make His love known to all people?

As Pope Benedict XVI said recently: "As we prepare to celebrate the Saviour's birth let us keep our Christian traditions to the fore. Let the lights of our streets and the candles of our churches remind us that God is with us, born in Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary; he is the light of our lives and of the world!"

"Tomorrow shall be my dancing day;
I would my true love did so chance
To see the legend of my play,
To call my true love to my dance;

Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love,
This have I done for my true love

Then was I born of a virgin pure,
Of her I took fleshly substance
Thus was I knit to man's nature
To call my true love to my dance. Chorus

In a manger laid, and wrapped I was
So very poor, this was my chance
Betwixt an ox and a silly poor ass
To call my true love to my dance. Chorus

Then afterwards baptized I was;
The Holy Ghost on me did glance,
My Father’s voice heard from above,
To call my true love to my dance." Chorus

- from William Sandy's Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern.

The painting above is Botticelli's 'Mystical Nativity' which features dancing angels. It is believed that the Dominican friar, Fra Savonarola may have inspired the artist in this highly unconventional work.


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